Buss Origins

There are many theories about Buss origins the strength of which may well lie in what one wants to believe.

Dr Henry Buss, in his privately published book Eighty Years Experience of Life, offers a cogent and (probably) carefully researched opinion, though unfortunately it is not easy to corroborate. According to Henry: "At the Restoration in 1689 William and Mary brought over in their train from Holland, a Mrs. Buss, who held the situation of nurse to the Princess Anne, afterwards Queen." It seems that her children and grandchildren spread themselves chiefly in the county of Kent, in England. Not much is known about the intervening years until William Church Buss settled in the village of Bromley in Kent about the year 1775. From this point on the connection to my branch of the Buss family is well known.

Halbert's Registry of Busses states that the name appears to be "both locational and patronymical in origin. It can be associated with the French, English and German meanings of one who came from the Bus (wood) in France; dweller at the wood or thicket; descendant of Burgio".

Halbert also publishes a reproduction of a Buss coat of arms from Rietstap Armorial General (right, below), but I consider this to be a complete fabrication with no foundation in fact. Halbert has done directories for the names of many families and it appears that apart from the actual name listing there is nothing distinctively useful in these publications. It is a sheer commercial venture.

There is a Buss family crest which in its various forms depicts a ship or boat. According to Francis Fleetwood, Dutch fishermen used to go to sea in a fishing boat called a busse (top right). If this connects with the Mrs. Buss who accompanied William and Mary to England then her forebears may have been fishermen in Holland. But this is sheer supposition. All that can be said is that this hypothesis holds more weight than Halbert's suggestion.

Almost any English dictionary states that buss is an obsolete word for a kiss, possibly based on the French word baiser, to kiss. Americans buss the table - or clear the dishes away in readiness for the next customer in the grill. So by the etymology route Busses could once have been romantic waiters. Needless to say, you should not take this seriously!